Unemployment Rates During the COVID-19 Pandemic: In Brief [Updated February 15, 2021] [open pdf - 2MB]
From the Introduction: "The National Bureau of Economic Research declared the start of the current economic downturn in February 2020, marking the end of the longest period of expansion in U.S. history. This expansion followed the Great Recession (December 2007 to June 2009), a downturn widely considered to be the worst since the Great Depression (August 1929 to March 1933). The unemployment rate rose quickly in March 2020, and by April 2020 it had greatly surpassed its previous peaks observed during and just after the Great Recession. This spike in unemployment coincided with various mandated stay-at-home orders implemented in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and other pandemic-related factors affecting U.S. demand. Although unemployment rates have declined since April 2020, the rate in January 2021 (6.3%) remains much higher than the rate observed in February 2020 (3.5%). This report discusses recent unemployment rate patterns at the national and state levels using Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data."
CRS Report for Congress, R46554
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/